Many Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) include provisions that encourage foreign direct investment by offering certain guarantees and protections to the nationals of one contracting state who make investments in another contracting state. These guarantees often include the right to resolve disputes between investors and host states through arbitration.
Most FTAs are bilateral or regional in scope. The Energy Charter Treaty, which includes significant investor protections, is unique in being an industry-specific trade agreement that is not limited by geography.
For further information about FTAs, including links to the full texts of many agreements, consult the following resources:
- U.S. Trade Agreements Resource Center
The website of the U.S. Trade Representative provides information about Free Trade Agreements to which the U.S. is a party, as well as Trade and Investment Framework Agreements, which serve as the basis for the U.S. to negotiate trade agreements with other countries. Use the U.S. Trade and Related Agreements Database to download the full texts of FTAs.
- ICSID's Other Investment Treaties Table
The ICSID website includes an extensive, though not exhaustive, table of bilateral and regional FTAs that include investor protection provisions. The FTAs are listed alphabetically. In most cases, a link is provided to another website from which you may access the full text(s) of the treaty in its official language(s).
- UNCTAD International Investment Agreements Navigator
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) maintains the most comprehensive free online database of investment treaties, including free trade agreements with investor protection provisions. Use the map on the homepage to select a country and display an alphabetical list of "Other International Investment Agreements" (other than BITs, that is) to which the country is a party. Or click on Advanced Search and use the "drag and drop" menu to search by country. For each treaty, UNCTAD provides the current status, the date of signature, and the date of entry into force. In almost all cases, a link is provided to the full text of the treaty.